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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea look solid at Southampton

Saints are struggling to score

Chelsea forward Alvaro Morata celebrates with Ross Barkley
1 of 1

Premier League
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Chelsea are yet to taste defeat under Italian boss Maurizio Sarri and their unbeaten start to the campaign should continue with a convincing display at shot-shy Southampton.

The Blues needed three goals in eight second-half minutes to claw their way back from 2-0 down at St Mary's last season, but they look a different proposition under Sarri. Expect things to be more routine this time around.

Back-to-back draws with West Ham and Liverpool have halted Chelsea's progress but they were utterly dominant at the London Stadium, while their title rivals needed an 89th-minute super strike from Daniel Sturridge to rescue a point at Stamford Bridge.

Eden Hazard, the Premier League's top scorer with six, has matched Southampton's league tally on his own and the hosts lack the firepower to cause a shock.

The Saints have failed to score in back-to-back defeats at Liverpool and Wolves, where they combined just seven shots on target, and another blank could be on the cards against the Blues, who have conceded only once in three away league games.

Chelsea looked vulnerable to the counter-attack at times in their goalless draw at West Ham but Southampton don't possess the same quality in the final third.

The Blues should dominate possession through midfield trio N'Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic and the pace of Hazard and Willian will cause problems.

However, Southampton have conceded in the first half of just two of their seven league games - their trips to Liverpool and Everton - and they could make Chelsea work.

The Blues have been sensational since Sarri's arrival but they have been extremely reliant on their talisman Hazard and the value could lie with the visitors winning without cutting loose.

Chelsea to win & under 3.5 goals
1pt 7-5 Ladbrokes

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Team news

Alex McCarthy, Ryan Bertrand and Mohamed Elyounoussi are all available for selection. Shane Long could also return.

Eden Hazard, N'Golo Kante and Jorginho were rested in Thursday’s Europa League victory and should return. Pedro is set to feature following a shoulder injury.

Key stat
Southampton have lost their last six matches against Chelsea.

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Southampton have lost their last six matches against Chelsea
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